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Garth Ancier (born September 3, 1957 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey) is an American media executive who cancelled Freaks and Geeks. He is known for being one of only two people (the other being Fred Silverman) to have programmed three of the five US broadcast television networks (founding programmer at Fox, founding programmer at The WB (now The CW), and NBC Entertainment).
|Born||September 3, 1957|
Perth Amboy, New Jersey, U.S.
|Alma mater||Princeton University|
He began his broadcasting career as a high school sophomore in 1972, working as a reporter for NBC radio affiliates WBUD-AM and WBJH-FM in Trenton, New Jersey. In radio, he created American Focus, a weekly national interview program carried by over 300 radio stations in the U.S., including New York's WNBC, under the non-profit Focus on Youth. Ancier served as executive producer and host of over 250 episodes through 1979, each featuring a full-length career retrospective interview with guests ranging from Ayn Rand to Henry Fonda to David Brinkley. The show continued production for 17 years. Other guests included presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald R. Ford, George H.W. Bush, and Caspar W. Weinberger, Lucille Ball, Howard Cosell, Henry Fonda, Tom Wolfe and Pete Rose. Five hundred of its programs were given to what is now known as the Paley Center for Media in 1984.
Ancier's network television career began in 1979 when NBC Entertainment president Brandon Tartikoff hired him as a program associate. He rose through the ranks and supervised production of the network's top comedies including The Cosby Show, Cheers, Family Ties and Golden Girls.
In 1986, Barry Diller, Jamie Kellner and Rupert Murdoch tapped the then 28-year-old Ancier to be the founding entertainment president for the new Fox Broadcasting Company, where he put 21 Jump Street, Married... with Children, The Simpsons and In Living Color on the air.
Ancier went from Fox (resigning March 1, 1989) to Disney as president of network television for Walt Disney Studios on April 18, 1989. He developed Home Improvement and oversaw Disney's signature franchise The Magical World of Disney, hosted by Disney CEO Michael Eisner.
From October 1991 through July 1992, Ancier served as the television consultant to the Democratic National Committee, specifically to advise on the television presentation of the Democratic Convention in New York City and reporting to DNC Chairman Ron Brown. In that role, Ancier introduced political convention format innovations, such as a 56-screen "videowall" integrated into the convention podium and program, to such forums for the first time.
In 1994, Ancier re-teamed with Fox colleague Jamie Kellner and Warner Bros. CEO Barry Meyer to launch The WB as its chief programmer from 1994–99, where he helped put 7th Heaven, Dawson's Creek, Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Steve Harvey Show and The Jamie Foxx Show on the air.
Beginning in May 1999, Ancier served as president of NBC Entertainment, where he helped put The West Wing and Law & Order: SVU on the air, while conversely being the one who cancelled the 1999 teen drama-comedy series Freaks and Geeks, a move over which in 2014 he wrote that it was "an awful decision that has haunted me forever". Ancier was forced out from NBC in November 2000.
Ancier returned to Time Warner in 2001 as EVP, Programming for Turner Broadcasting (including the WB) and programmed CNN, TBS, TNT, etc., where he launched CNN's American Morning and its signature 10PM newscast with Anderson Cooper, as well as expanded Adult Swim on Cartoon Network by acquiring the then-cancelled Family Guy series from 20th Century Fox.
Ancier returned to The WB as Co-Chairman in September 2003, then became the Chairman of the WB Television Network from May 2004 until its merger with UPN to form The CW in September 2006, during which Supernatural and One Tree Hill were launched. He was transferred to run In2TV, the Warners/AOL broadband television network. Through Garth Ancier Company, he was developing a talk show at the pilot stage while negotiating a potential network, cable and first-run syndicated shows deal with Telepictures and Warner Horizon as of October 2006.
He served as first president of BBC Worldwide America from February 2007-March 2010, where he launched Top Gear, Torchwood, and DC produced BBC World News America (BBC's first US produced daily newscast) on BBC America. Ancier also moved BBC's iconic Doctor Who series from the Syfy network to BBC America and prepared CBeebies for a US launch. Ancier was able to increase by 78% BBC Worldwide America's profit and was to continue to hold a director's seat on its board after his departure from management was planned for March 2010.
Ancier has worked for a number of media corporations as a senior advisor to management on digital streaming, SVOD and vMVPD projects. His most notable clients have been Intel Media on a virtual-MSO system, and IAC/Vimeo.
Federal court exonerationEdit
On April 21, 2014, Ancier and three other Hollywood figures were accused of sexually abusing Michael Egan fifteen years prior, when Egan was 17. Egan and his attorneys withdrew the case against Ancier on June 25, 2014, after they failed to meet the Federal Court deadline for producing their evidence (also known as Rule 11).
However, two days later, on June 27, 2014, Ancier and his attorneys filed a suit against Egan and his attorneys for malicious prosecution and abuse of process. The suit asked for a jury trial and noted that "The Action was brought to smear, harass and severely injure Mr. Ancier," the complaint said, "as part of an avowed and very public campaign by Mr. Egan’s counsel to troll for new clients who would enable them to shake down other entertainment industry executives with threats of sexual assault charges."
A year later, Egan's lawyers issued a formal apology to Ancier, along with a seven-figure financial settlement. Egan's lead lawyer, Jeff Herman, said in a statement, "Based on what I know now, I believe that I participated in making what I now know to be untrue and proveably false allegations against [Ancier]. Had I known what I learned after filing the lawsuits, I would never have filed these claims against [Ancier]. I deeply regret the pain, suffering and damages the lawsuits and publicity have caused [Ancier], and [his] family, friends, and colleagues."
After his attorneys' departure, the case against Egan himself continued, and Egan eventually made a deposition under oath on June 23, 2015. In the four hour deposition, Egan "declined to reiterate his allegations and instead asserted his Fifth Amendment rights more than 400 times."
Facing an upcoming summary judgement against him, and without any legal counsel, Egan filed for bankruptcy on November 19, 2015, effectively staying the case.
Shortly thereafter, in an unrelated felony case brought by the United States government, Egan was sentenced to two years in federal prison for pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud.
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